The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is requesting state Rep. John Bennett apologize for a Facebook post saying people should be wary of those who say they are “Muslim American.”
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is criticizing state Rep. John Bennett for a Facebook post saying people should be wary of those who say they are “Muslim American.”
“Be especially wary if you’re a Christian,” he said in the post, which links to a story about atrocities committed by the Islamic State group.
“The Quran clearly states that non Muslims should be killed,” he said in the post.
In a news release Wednesday, the Muslim advocacy council’s state chapter said Bennett’s statement about the Quran is false and called on Republican Party leaders to repudiate his remarks.
“Anti-Muslim bigotry and statements that promote misunderstanding and incite hatred toward a minority group have no place in the Oklahoma Republican Party. Individuals elected to represent the people of Oklahoma should be held accountable for such extremist, inaccurate and intolerant views,” Adam Soltani, the group’s executive director, said in a letter to Bennett.
“We are requesting that you denounce these anti-Muslim comments and issue an apology for said derogatory statements.”
Soltani said that Islam teaches that killing one person is like killing all of humanity.
Bennett, R-Sallisaw, said he is standing by his post. He said there are multiple verses in the Quran calling Muslims to war with nonbelievers. He also said the CAIR organization was an un-indicted co-conspirator in a terrorism trial.
He said the terrorist activities of the Islamic State group could reach the United States.
“We must shine a bright light on the role of the Muslim Brotherhood and its varied tentacles in the U.S.,” said Bennett, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “These tentacles include un-indicted co-conspirators of the U.S. vs. Holyland Foundation trial like the Council on American-Islamic Relations here in Oklahoma. Our borders are wide open to drug and human traffickers. Terrorism could come to Oklahoma just as easily.”
Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Dave Weston supported Bennett’s remarks.
“It seems as if their attack on his comments is disingenuous at best,” Weston said. “Here’s why. If we as Americans were ruled by Islam, then Christians and Jews like you and I could only keep practicing our faith if we paid a protection tax. But if you’re Christian or Jewish and don’t immediately convert to Islam, they imminently decapitate you. This is proven by ongoing observation around the world today.”
“If they’re legitimate in wanting to come to the table and have an honest discourse, they can prove that by acknowledging the Jewish Holocaust happened, they can publicly recognize the right of Israel to exist and they can denounce the killing of Muslim converts to Christianity and other religions around the world.”
University of Oklahoma Professor offers insight
Charles Kimball, director of religious studies and a presidential professor at the University of Oklahoma, agreed that verses often are taken out of context.
Kimball, author of the bestselling books “When Religion Becomes Evil” and “When Religion Becomes Lethal,” said the “so-called sword verses” pertain to the Muslims in Medina in early Islam having a duty to defend their faith against those who were persecuting them.
Kimball said Islamic extremists have taken a “narrow view” and pulled those verses out of context to say that they should go out and kill anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
“It’s a very small minority view, but it’s obviously a very violent and visible one,” he said. “It’s a view that’s out there but it is a small minority of more than 1 billion people (Muslims).”
Kimball said rhetoric that lumps all American Muslims in with terrorist groups “kind of plays to a stereotypical fear.”
“There’s this kind of fear and it is enhanced when you have something as brutal and cruel as the beheadings of those journalists” by ISIS, he said.
Kimball, an ordained Baptist preacher, has made numerous visits to the Middle East and is known for his extensive work regarding Muslim-Christian relations. He said there are numerous passages in the Quran that relate particularly to Jews and Christians in a positive light. He said in the Quran, Jews and Christians are called “People of the Book” and Jesus is mentioned more than 90 times and Moses also is featured prominently throughout the holy text.
He said throughout history, there are instances where groups in power have oppressed those with viewpoints and religious affiliations different than their own. He said condemning American Muslims for the acts of Islamic extremist terrorist groups is as unfounded as repudiating Christians because of the actions of hates groups like the skinheads or the Ku Klux Klan that often use the Bible as foundation for their extremist beliefs.